Review: Claudia Winkleman's mix of paranoia and plots makes The Traitors murderously addictive
My kids were once addicted to an online game called Among Us, where you had to guess which player was the killer on a spaceship before they killed you.
I couldn’t really see the appeal, to be honest, but that was before I watched The Traitors (BBC1, Tues-Thurs, 9pm).
In this gothic mix of Cluedo and Murder in the Dark, Claudia Winkleman manages to peer through her fringe for long enough to nominate three Traitors among a band of 20-odd ‘Faithful’.
It’s a bit tricky to work out the labyrinthine rules, but the Traitors can pick one of the Faithful to ‘murder’ each day – no blood is actually spilled, the ‘victims’ are just Land Rovered away from the Scottish baronial castle they’re all staying in.
The Faithful have to identify the Traitors and vote them off – gathered together around a Round Table, where accusations fly and volcanic emotions are rarely far from the surface.
Initially deeply annoyed by every single one of the participants, who seemed to be self-selected from the most childish people in the UK, by the end of the third episode it was difficult not to be drawn in to it all.
The gothic flourishes – Claudia prowls around being nasty with her tongue so far in her cheek she can barely speak, the Traitors wear hooded cloaks and have a soundtrack made up of donging bells – are a deliciously over-the-top touch, while you can see the whole thing descending into Lord of the Flies-style paranoia and delusion.
Obedience experiment psychologist Stanley Milgram might have ruled out some of the experiments as going a bit far, but this is totally addictive fun. Just watch your back.
Freddie and Jason: Two Men in a Tent (ITV, Tues, 9pm) was an undemanding hour – a slightly less mad version of Bear Grylls in which Freddie Flintoff and Jason Manford went into the great outdoors for assorted hijinks. It could be a series, but whether you tune in or not would very much depend on who Freddie’s companion is.
The Patient (Disney+, all episodes streaming now) is an intriguing drama with Steve Carell as a psychiatrist kidnapped to act as a serial killer’s personal therapist. You have to pay attention to it, but as all the episodes are 30 minutes or less, it’s definitely worth taking the time.